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Excessive noise damages more than your hearing

If you work in an industry where high levels of noise are prevalent, you likely take precautions to guard your hearing. Perhaps you wear protective ear equipment or limit your exposure to the noise. You may find the drive home in silence much better than cranking loud music after a long day on the job. Not only does the quiet relieve the ringing in your ears, but it seems to allow you to decompress.

That may be because the noise of your job is affecting you in other ways besides damaging your hearing. While you would expect that exposure to loud or prolonged noise would compromise your hearing, new research shows noise may cause other serious health issues.

Health concerns for those exposed to excessive noise

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health estimates that about 25 percent of workers in the U.S. face occupational noise, including machinery, tools, traffic, vibrations and other sources. It may not surprise you to learn that 12 percent of those exposed to high noise levels also experience some hearing loss. However, you may not expect to learn that twice that many workers had high blood pressure, and 28 percent of them suffered from high cholesterol.

Researchers confirm that the rise in blood pressure and cholesterol levels is directly linked to the levels of noise on the job. While any job can be excessively loud, workers in the following industries are most at risk for noise exposure and its related health issues:

  • Mining
  • Construction
  • Manufacturing

High blood pressure and high cholesterol are known contributors to stroke and heart disease. While you may try to stay healthy by watching your diet and keeping active, the high decibels on your job may be counteracting your efforts.

What can be done?

The CDC has always advocated for lowering the acceptable levels of noise in the workplace since more than 5 million people suffer hearing loss and other debilitating conditions due to excessive noise. Now, however, there is hope that this new study will prompt faster action for workers like you whose lives, as well as their hearing, are at risk.

Additionally, you may benefit from regular health screenings your employer may offer. If you discover you have a health issue that is related to the noise or other conditions at your workplace, the assistance of a Kentucky attorney may streamline the process of seeking benefits through workers' compensation.

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